The piece below is based on an edited conversation between artist Grevil Quinn and Paper Nations researcher Christina Sanders.
Grevil lives on a narrow boat just outside Bath. He used to live in a Bedford TK. He has worked as a lorry driver, builder, drummer, clown and parent. He writes songs, and poems – sporadically at the moment.
My writing practice consists of me journaling most days. Sometimes, I combine writing with drawing. I also write poems and ditties, and recently during lockdown I have tried to write songs. I have a background as a performer, and am interested in using different media overlapping and complementing each other, from arts to poetry to spoken word. I do a lot of work with found objects; I am very interested in their narratives and associations. I finished one song off during lockdown and wrote another one, or two even; then they go on the back burner.
Covid has impacted on my writing in as far as it has had an effect on the world around me, it has magnified things and triggered anxiety. I had severe anxiety issues up until a couple of years ago, and I put them to bed, but Covid has really triggered them, so obviously that has a direct bearing on my writing, and everything about me.
I want people reading my work to experience all sorts of things. I want to share my humanity, my experience, my world view. My experience is broad, from despair to hope. I’m quite overwhelmed at the moment. A famous author, I heard on the radio, referred to current circumstances as the perfect storm – Covid, Brexit, climate emergency, the surfacing of institutionalised racism, it’s a lot to bear.
Do I identify as a writer? No, not really, but I do think that I write, maybe that is just being pedantic. I think of myself as someone who keeps a journal, as someone who enjoys writing, as someone who finds writing a useful tool in furthering my comprehension of the world around me and myself. Amongst other things, writing is a useful tool for processing and assimilating information, gaining a better perspective on all of that.
In future, I hope I can continue writing, to share and express the important things I think, feel and see through my writing. I hope I can gain more satisfaction, that writing will continue to be a useful tool to further my understanding, to further build ideas and communities I hold dear.
A writer’s group would definitely help me, a group of people who are engaged in a similar practice. It’s been great having tutorials with Paper Nations, so maybe having a more established teacher or writer to bounce off ideas and get feedback? Money, paper and pens are always good – I need some more feathered quills, a pot of ink, and a beret. Time and money are always an issue.